Adai is one of the healthiest dishes from the South Indian cuisine. Thus, Adai Dosa is the perfect choice for a wholesome and filling breakfast meal, when paired with a bowl of sambar and chutney as well. Basically, these are delicious and protein-packed rice and lentil crepes, which are especially popular in the cuisine of Tamil Nadu in South India. Since all the other ingredients in this Adai Recipe are also plant-based, this preparation is also vegan.
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What is Adai
Call them crepes or pancakes, Adai is made from ground rice and lentils batter that is spiced and seasoned. A mix of lentils and white rice are soaked together and then ground to make a slightly coarse medium-thick batter. The batter is not fermented and the crepes are made on a skillet with the batter.
The recipe of Adai Dosa that I have shared here is a basic one that I use at home to make the Adai. Each household has its own proportions and the types of lentils they use. Also, the spices and seasonings added, can vary from family to family.
Basically, just like other dishes, there are many variations possible and various greens or vegetables that can be added in an Adai Recipe to make it heartier and more wholesome.
The lentils that I use in my recipe of Adai are chana dal (split, husked Bengal gram), urad dal (split, husked black gram and tuvar dal (split, husked pigeon pea lentils).
If you ask me, I would prefer the Adai Dosa many a times over the regular plain or sada Dosa when it comes to the health factor. Yes, the usual rice batter dosas are more convenient since the number of ingredients in it are less as compared to the Adai Recipe. But still, when it comes to being nutritious, the Adai wins hands down!
Also, with my Adai Recipe, it is quite easier to make this particular dosa as well as it is quite a hassle-free recipe. Although, there’s still some time that goes in soaking the rice and lentils, but it is still faster than making the traditional dosa batter.
Adai Dosa is usually served with jaggery, white unsalted butter, idli-dosa podi or Avial. Even a tomato chutney or coconut chutney accompanies it well.
Why you should make Adai
There are plenty of reasons as to why you must try the Adai Recipe. However, here are some of the ones that work for me:
- First and foremost, it is supremely tasty and barring the soaking and the grinding bit, making it is very easy too. Rice and lentils are soaked and then ground to a slightly coarse batter. Also, unlike a basic dosa, you don’t need to ferment the batter. However, allow the batter to rest for about 1 to 2 hours as this helps in giving the Adai a better taste and texture.
- Next, obviously the health benefits it has. Because of the lentils that are a storehouse of proteins, fiber and other nutrients, the Adai Dosa is super nutritious for your body. It is easy to digest as well and keeps you full for a longer time.
- One thing that makes the Adai distinct than other paper thin dosas is its batter, which is coarser as compared to its counterparts. So, this also means that these specific dosas are thicker than the usual ones. Thus, also more filling, in a shorter span of time.
- It is best when you want to feed your fussy kids something really sumptuous, yet healthy. This recipe too is kid-friendly. Just make sure to adjust the quantity of chilies, if making for the young ones.
- This recipe is one of those dosa recipes which is easily customizable. Hence, versatile. You can add more veggies and greens or subtract them, it is still going to be a lovely thing to eat.
How to make Adai Dosa
1. Rinse and soak the following listed ingredients in 1.5 cups water for 2 to 3 hours.
- ½ cup regular rice (or idli rice)
- ¼ cup chana dal, ¼ cup urad dal
- ¼ cup tuvar dal
- 2 dried red chilies (byadagi or Kashmiri, seeds removed)
You can also soak these ingredients overnight.
2. Later, drain all the water and add the rice, lentils and red chilies in a grinder jar or a high-speed blender.
Also add 1.5 teaspoon chopped ginger and 1 generous pinch asafoetida (hing). At this step, you can also add 1 green chili and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.
3. Add ⅔ to ¾ cup water and grind to a semi-coarse batter. Do not make the batter fine.
4. Take the batter in a mixing bowl. Cover and keep aside for a minimum 20 minutes or till 1 to 2 hours.
You could opt to ferment the batter and then make Adai Dosa. Set aside the batter for 3 to 4 hours to ferment or as needed. Just make sure that the batter should not become too sour.
5. Now, add the below listed ingredients:
- ⅓ cup finely chopped pearl onions (or onions or shallots)
- ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
- 2 teaspoons chopped curry leaves or 8 to 10 chopped curry leaves
You can also add ¼ cup grated fresh coconut.
6. Add salt as required.
7. Mix very well.
8. Heat a cast iron skillet or tawa and spread a bit of oil on it. Use a skillet or tawa which is well seasoned, or else the adai will stick on it.
9. Take a ladleful of the prepared batter and pour on the hot tawa.
10. Quickly spread the batter to a circle.
11. Make a neat round Adai.
12. With the back of a spoon, make a small dent or hole in the center. This helps in cooking the Adai evenly.
13. Drizzle some oil in the center as well as on the sides.
14. Cook on medium-low to medium heat till it is crisp and golden from the base. You can also cover with a lid and cook.
15. Then, flip the Adai.
16. Cook the adai on the second side till its cooked well and has golden brown spots.
17. Flip and then serve. Make adai in batches this way.
- Soaking lentils: You can soak the lentils for 2 to 3 hours or even overnight.
- Rice: You can use either a regular variety of rice or parboiled rice.
- Batter: While grinding the batter, you can add some green chilies or cumin seeds too. This is optional and can be skipped as well. The asafoetida can also be skipped, if you wish to. Also, make sure to make a semi coarse batter and not a fine one.
- Fermentation: You can also ferment the batter to make delicious Adai Dosa. So, if you want to make it, then ferment the batter for 3 to 4 hours or as required and then use it to make the dosa.
- More add-ins to the batter: Herbs and spices can be added less or more, as per your requirements. You can also add some grated fresh coconut in the batter, mix and then use it to make Adai.
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Adai Recipe | How to make Adai Dosa
- ½ cup regular rice or idli rice or parboiled rice
- ¼ cup chana dal (split and husked bengal gram)
- ¼ cup urad dal (split and husked black gram)
- ¼ cup tuvar dal (tur dal, arhar dal, pigeon pea lentils)
- 2 dry red chilies – byadagi or kashmiri, seeds removed
- 1.5 cups water – for soaking
- 1.5 teaspoons chopped ginger
- 1 generous pinch asafoetida (hing)
- 1 chopped green chili – optional
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds – optional
- ⅔ to ¾ cup water – for grinding or add as required
- ⅓ cup onions (finely chopped) or finely chopped or pearl onions or shallots
- 2 teaspoons curry leaves (chopped finely) or or 8 to 10 curry leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup coriander leaves (chopped)
- ¼ cups grated coconut – optional
- salt as required
- oil as required
Soaking rice and lentils
- Rinse and then soak regular rice or idli rice, chana dal, urad dal and tuvar dal and dry red chilies (byadagi or kashmiri) in 1.5 cups water for 2 to 3 hours. You can also keep overnight.
Making adai batter
- Later drain all the water and add the rice, lentils and red chilies in a grinder jar.
- Also add chopped ginger and hing. At this step you can also add 1 green chili and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds.
- Add ⅔ to ¾ cup water and grind to a semi coarse medium-thick batter. Do not make the batter fine.
- Take all the batter in a mixing bowl. Cover and keep aside for minimum 20 minutes or till 1 to 2 hours.
- Now add finely chopped onions (or pearl onions or shallots), chopped coriander leaves and chopped curry leave. You can also add grated coconut.
- Add salt as required. Mix very well.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or tawa and spread a bit of oil on it.
- Take a ladle full of the batter and pour the batter on tawa. quickly spread the batter to a round circle.
- With a back of a spoon make a small dent or hole in the center. This helps in cooking the adai evenly.
- Drizzle some oil in the center as well as on the sides.
- Cook on medium-low to medium heat till the adai is crisp and golden. Then flip them. You can also cover it with a lid and then cook.
- Cook the adai on the second side till it is cooked well and has golden brown spots. Flip and then serve. Make adai in batches this way.
- You can serve protein-rich adai with some white butter, jaggery, idli-dosa podi or avial. You can also pair it with coconut chutney or tomato chutney or tomato-onion chutney.
- Feel free to subtract any of the add-ins to the batter like onions, green chillies, spices and herbs etc if these are not available to you.
- You can also ferment the batter for 3 to 4 hours or as needed. Just take care that the batter does not become too sour.
- Do not omit any of the lentils or even rice from the recipe, as the flavor and texture will change.
- Scale the recipe to make a smaller batch or for more servings.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This Adai recipe from the archives first published in December 2017 has been republished and updated on November 2022.